Taking supplements: Is it worth your career?

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Many people enjoy working out and have specific goals in mind when they do. Some of those goals may include bulking up, slimming down, toning or generating muscle mass.

In order for some to generate muscle mass, they enhance their workouts by taking dietary or workout supplements such as creatine. According to a recent scare in the Army and Marine Corps, taking these supplements could potentially cause a military member to produce a positive result on a drug urinalysis.

The specific product the Soldiers and Marines claimed caused them to pop a false-positive is "C4 Extreme," manufactured by the Cellucor company.

This product is currently sold in health stores as well as the Base Exchange.

"When AAFES first became aware of the perceived issues with C4, they reached out to the vendor to address their concerns," said Dr. Aaron Jacobs, Air Force Drug Testing program manager. "According to the vendor, this product doesn't produce the results in question."

The vendor had the product tested to prove it doesn't produce positive results on urinalyses.

"The prohibited stimulants test results of 'C4 Extreme' by the Anti-Doping Sciences Institute report concluded that 'No stimulants were identified,'" Jacobs said. "The product C4 doesn't contain any D-amphetamines and there have been no 'false positive' results."

Urinalysis screenings go through a series of tests to determine if a positive result is valid or not.

"There have been issues with some chemicals cross-reacting with the screening test, which is the first test used to eliminate negative samples, but nothing has caused a positive in the confirmation test," Jacobs said.

While dimethylamylamine is a legal substance, many military bases have barred the sale of products containing it on the installations.

"There is no list of banned substances for the Air Force," Jacobs said. "This is primarily because the list would never be all inclusive, and people could use the list as an excuse for any positive result for any chemical that was not on the list."

The best way to ensure one does not take a product that may potentially contain something that would generate a positive urinalysis result, is to research the product, read the ingredients list and consult a physician or nutritionist.

*Editor's note: This is the first article in a series of articles focusing on dietary supplements and performance enhancing drugs. Read future issues of the Warren Sentinel for additional information.